We have installed an FTP server and most clients connect to this server with a fat FTP client.

So far so good, but there are situations where this does not really fit the needs:

  • We have clients that are too stupid or do not have the admin-rights to install a fat FTP client and if they can, they are to stupid to handle that client.

  • Sometimes we sit on a computer that is not our machine and only has limited access rights, so we can't install a fat client.

We then installed net2ftp on our ftp-server to be able to upload and download our files. So far so good, but for some clients this is still to complicated and has to many features.

So I'm looking for a solution where our clients can simply upload a file, list the exiting files and can download the files that are available on the ftp server.

Thanks Teddy

closed as off-topic by Jonno, karel, DavidPostill, ChrisInEdmonton, fixer1234 Jan 16 '16 at 3:20

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Assuming your clients are using Microsoft Windows, they already have a simple FTP client on their machine - they even are used to using it every day. The Windows Explorer (not the Internet Explorer!) has some FTP functionality that should be enough for your purpose.

  • To connect to a FTP server: Open a Windows Explorer window and click the address bar (which might say "My Computer" or similar). Then type ftp://ftp.example.com and press enter. Windows will ask you for credentials.

  • To connect to an FTP server providing user/password: Just like the above, but provide username and password in the address like this: ftp://username:password@ftp.example.com.

You can even provide a shortcut on the users' machines, so they don't need to remember those addresses. Just create a new shotcut anywhere and let it point to this target:

C:\Windows\explorer.exe ftp://username:password@ftp.example.com

Now your users just have to double click that shortcut to be connected to the FTP server. It looks like a normal Explorer Window, so they will be comfortable with using it.

  • 2
    To start the Windows Explorer, not Internet Explorer, just launch "My Computer" or open the user's home folder. – Goblin Alchemist Jan 13 '16 at 13:52

This was originally a comment but I ran out of space.

First of all you need to remember your clients pay your wages regardless of how dumb they act. If they don't know how to use computers or software, that is why you and your company have been employed to provide the technical service.

Have you engaged the client's IT team directly? Have you had a face to face meeting to train them how to use your systems? Have you produced a document that would guide them through the steps with screenshots and in a language that your grandmother's cat could understand?

To answer your question, there are two options I can think of that would streamline the process from the client point of view.

  1. Anonymous FTP: This would eliminate the need for complex passwords and extra software clients. They just have a folder mapped to their desktop where they can drag and drop the required files. The downside to this is that your FTP server would be open to abuse from all corners of the internet.
  2. HTML File Upload: This would require an investment from your side to build a simple HTML web form that the user can fill out from their browser. However once in place you can restrict file sizes, types and do any pre-processing required seamlessly and invisibly to the client.

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